Facing the Problem with Perfectionism


2AFF38D700000578-0-image-a-22_1438355174086Are you a perfectionist? Many perfectionists are very hard on themselves when it comes to perceived imperfections, faults, and shortcomings. You may think that you’re not good enough in some ways, thereby placing tremendous pressure on yourself to succeed. That’s great, but don’t forget that life is a “work in progress.” The problem with perfectionism is that it steals life from us. The weight of the anxiety and pressure prevents you from feeling fully alive and able to engage authentically in life.

Perfection is Futile

One of the world’s greatest artists, Leonardo da Vinci, said, “Art is never finished; only abandoned.” This means that there is a moment when every artist has to declare their work complete (not perfect) and walk away from it. It’s not about abandonment. Rather, it’s about letting something stand on its own. There is always something to refine or update—there is always something that could be better—but thinking that way can drive you crazy. When it comes to something your want in your life, get as close to it as you can, be happy with how far you’ve come and then share your accomplishment with others. After, move on to something else that’s fulfilling.

Da Vinci realized what must be understood to succeed in all areas of life, not just art: Strive for the ideal (in love, career, etc.), but don’t expect perfection. Expecting perfection is futile. There will be many perfect moments or elements, but overall perfection is unrealistic.

The Perfect Job

images (10)Are you looking for that perfect job? First, what would that look like exactly? Is it what you would have considered perfect 10 years ago—or 10 years from now? Probably not. If you’re sitting at your desk right now wanting something more fulfilling or hoping for something better, consider that the best place to start creating a “perfect” job is by making the one you have better.

If that sounds silly or impossible, it’s good to recognize that what you have is actually what you wanted at one point. See, you already succeeded at getting the “perfect” job! But over time you became unsatisfied. But you don’t have to abandon your current job to find a “perfect” job. You can make the job you have the one you want again. You just need to cultivate and nurture it like you first did. But do it with the understanding that it will never be perfect. An imperfect job can still be a great job!

The Perfect Mate

Even the best relationships don’t consist of two perfect people. You and your partner are always changing and growing, and that means you can and will let each other down on occasion. Even if your partner falls short of your expectations, and you fall short of theirs, you can still have a lot of fun. But before the fun starts again, you need to be able to forgive each other so you can grow as a couple. Forgiveness makes you a better person (not a perfect person). Mutual acceptance in a relationship also creates a strong foundation for life-long love. That’s a real achievement, and it makes your relationship better.

The Perfect You

perfectionismIf you’re a perfectionist, it’s difficult to love and accept yourself just the way you are. Do you think you could be thinner, prettier, funnier or sexier? Are you angry at yourself for not being these things? Try forgiving and accepting yourself for being human instead. If you can’t, how do you expect to be able to forgive and accept others? Loving others starts with loving yourself!

There is no such thing as perfection, whether it’s a job, a mate or a you. Instead of striving for an unattainable goal, take the opportunities when you or a loved one fall short of expectations to practice acceptance. That’s actually the perfect opportunity to forgive more and love more. And remember, perfectionism is problematic because it is impossible to achieve.